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When An Elevator Entrapment Requires Extra Care

When An Elevator Entrapment Requires Extra Care

Imagine one of your tenants being trapped in an elevator for more than an hour. How do you envision the call would be handled? Here we walk through actual audio of such an entrapment, demonstrating how our service is exemplary in a situation like this.

You might be thinking the odds of getting stuck in an elevator aren’t very high because it hasn’t happened to you before, so you’re thinking it never will. That’s simply not true. Thousands of entrapments happen every month just here in the USA. So when it does happen to you or someone at your property, who is taking the call? Will they be able to help as needed? Translate if necessary? Calm panic passengers?

When I started working here at Kings III in May 2018, I had never been stuck in an elevator, but I knew someone that had and her experience was anything but comforting. She was stuck for over 2 hours as emergency services tried to locate the cab she was in. The answering service monitoring the emergency phone inside the elevator couldn’t pin her exact location and there were 18 elevators on the property for fire rescue to search. Obviously shaken from the entire ordeal, my friend’s experience opened my eyes to an issue most of us have never considered. It was that story that made working for Kings III a no-brainer for me. A company whose mission is to make sure no one is left alone and afraid when in an emergency is a company I wanted to work for.

If there were any doubt about the level of service Kings III provides entrapped elevator passengers and other callers in need of aid, it was quickly erased during my training. In order to get the full experience of the Kings III service and how we really do make a difference, every new employee at Kings III spends time with an operator in our Emergency Dispatch Center here in Dallas.

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It only took about 5 minutes and a handful of uneventful test calls (where customers call in to test their phones) for Carlos and I to find ourselves in a very different situation.

The call comes in and it’s immediately apparent the person on the other end is an elderly woman in distress, frantically trying to explain her location. Without hesitation, Carlos took control of the situation and was able to calm the entrapped woman. He told her he knew her exact location and would be dispatching aid immediately. Because this caller was a bit panicked, Carlos enlisted the help of another dispatcher to call the elevator service company and property manager while he stayed on the line to continue to keep her calm. Turns out she was an older woman using a walker and an oxygen tank. Listen for yourself in pt. 1 below. 

This quickly went from an average entrapment in an old elevator, to a situation that required extra precaution. The caller was stuck in between floors during the middle of a South Florida summer with an expiring oxygen tank.

To make matters worse, the elevator company had initially told Carlos that it would take 30 minutes, but was now estimating it would be an hour before a technician would arrive.

Carlos relays this information to the caller and asks if she would like him to call emergency services due to the delay. She tells him that fire rescue is not necessary but asks him to please call her daughter to let her know the situation. In many cases, entrapped passengers make similar requests and our team is happy to oblige. Carlos conferences in the daughter to explain the situation.“I’m happy you’re staying on top of it like this, thank you. You are being very diligent and I appreciate that,” her daughter expressed. Over the next hour, Carlos stayed on the phone monitoring the situation, ensuring that fire rescue could be dispatched immediately if necessary. He also called her daughter periodically to give updates on the situation. You can listen to highlights of this conversation in pt. 2 below. 

The real difference in what we do is the care factor. Carlos and the entrapped woman spoke as casually as ever as they waited together for help to arrive. The intent wasn’t just to keep her calm but also to help control her breathing (and extend the life of her oxygen tank). I saw a look of joy on Carlos’s face when she told him – “You’re so kind Carlos, thank you for keeping me distracted.” It was clear that this meant a lot to him and that Carlos was fully invested in being there for her. The topic of conversation ranged from shared experiences living in Mexico to similar tastes in cuisine to Disney World. Regardless, they connected and from my view, were becoming good friends!

It was just over an hour into the entrapment when we finally heard a technician’s voice on the other end telling her that he had the situation handled and would have her out right away. Before she hung up, she told Carlos thank you one more time and said something that has since stuck with me – “thank God for the emergency button.” I knew what she really meant was thank God for the person on the other end of that line. You can listen to the call’s resolve in pt. 3 below. 

This experience blew me away and cemented my feelings about Kings III. The bravery from inside the elevator and the calm professional demeanor from the dispatch center was remarkable. It is very possible that the Kings III emergency phone in that old accordion elevator saved that woman’s life that day. I believe that to be true. It provides an example of what is a pretty common saying around here at Kings III: the right person with the right training results in the right response.

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